How Many Resume Versions Should I Have?

A resume is a resume is a resume, right? Not so fast! You can’t simply send out the same resume, time and again, for every job opening and expect the best results – namely, a call for an interview.

These days, you need to have one resume that you tailor for different audiences; or possibly even two or more, depending on your situation. While most of the information will remain the same, some small tweaks can be the difference between getting the interview and being rejected.

So just how many resumes will you need? Here’s a look at the different versions and why each one is important.

Your Main Resume

The goal of your primary resume is to create a clear, compelling case as to why you’re a strong candidate and a good contender for the jobs you’re applying to. It should cover your work history and experience, education, specialized skills, and any other important details to highlight, such as volunteer work.

Keep in mind too you’ll want to include a mix of hard and soft skills on your resume, as well as quantify accomplishments. This resume is the template you will use to create different versions from.

Your ATS Resume

In today’s world, many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes. This makes it easier for them to review the hundreds of resumes they receive and focus on the handful of candidates they want to call for an interview.

When you’re optimizing your resume for an ATS, there are some important tips to keep in mind. If you don’t follow them, you might be out of the running even if you’re an ideal fit. These include:

  • Finding keywords in the job description and using them, as well as variations, throughout your resume.
  • Using a simple layout without any graphics or visuals that is easy for the ATS to scan.
  • Avoiding script or retro-looking fonts and instead using fonts, like Times New Roman, Arial, Cambria, Georgia, Calibri or Verdana.

Keep in mind, though, your resume still needs to be reader-friendly for a human. So, make sure you use one-inch margins, send in a two-page resume, rather than cramming text onto one page, and use a point size of at least 11 for the font.

Your Employer-Specific Resume

You might wind up using the same or similar resumes for many of the positions you apply to. However, it’s best to review the job description first and edit your resume in a way that will make it as relevant as possible for each job and employer.

 Some areas to focus on when you’re doing this include:

  • Summary of Qualifications. You can add new details or re-order the bullet points so the most important ones are first.
  • Job History. Include the experience, skills and accomplishments that are most pertinent to each position and employer.
  • Miscellaneous Information. For instance, in some cases, adding hobbies can actually improve your chance of getting an interview, if it’s related somehow to the company.
  • Keywords. These will be different depending on the job listing and the description.

When You Need Another Resume

That said, if you’re interested in two different kinds of jobs, then you’ll need two separate resumes. For instance, if you’ve held management roles, as well as task-specific ones, and are open to both, then you’ll have to create a resume for each of these unique opportunities. There might be some overlap. However, for the most part, they will be different.

Another instance when you’ll need multiple resumes? When you’re changing careers. If you’re making a move to a different industry or a new field, then you will need to have resumes for each type of position you are applying to. When this is the case for you, make sure you are highlighting those transferable skills that can be valuable across industries.

Finally, if you’re applying for your first job and are interested in multiple areas, then you might need to create individual resumes for each position. Again, you can use some of the same information. However, when you’re writing each resume, focus on your abilities and course work that are most relevant to the position or industry you are applying to.

Whatever You Do, Stay Organized

No matter the number of resumes you have, it’s important to stay organized with each one you send out. Create a spreadsheet, for instance, that lists the company and position you applied to, which resume version you sent, and the date you sent it.

Not only will this give you a visual to work with, so you can stay on top of your job search, but it will provide a timeline for following up. Likewise, if a hiring manager reaches out for an interview, you’ll know exactly what resume you sent them and when.

Need More Help with Your Resume Writing?

At ResumeSpice, we can help you create a compelling resume, as well as optimize it for ATS software and employers. You’ll get more calls for interviews and land a new job faster with our expert team. Simply reach out at 832.930.7378 or contact us online to get started.